- Assign work worthy of the effort: Does it make sense? Is it necessary/useful?
- Make the work doable: Be sure directions are clear and that students won’t need help. Parents are often unable to give assistance even when they want to.
- Build flexibility into your homework policy: Find ways for kids to recover from missing work while still holding them accountable. Just giving a zero for late work doesn’t help.
- Create time for completing “home” work at school: Before school, right after school, during lunch, during Hound Time or Spoofhound Hour, etc.
- Encourage collaboration: Among students (8th graders helping 6th graders) and among staff (sharing ideas and assignments with the highest return rate).
- Provide feedback of some sort: If it is important enough for kids to do, it should be important enough to look at it. (This doesn’t necessarily mean formally graded.)
Homework – It’s a lot to consider. As educators, we should consider its purpose, the time it requires, and the way to get students to complete it. One thing that won’t work very well, in my opinion, is punitive measures. The threat of zeroes only motivates students who are actually motivated by grades to begin with. There is no easy answer to motivate kids to complete homework, but things may help. The list below is one I’ve recently shared with Maryville staff.